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By Steve Medcroft
If you saw any of the six U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross races, you couldn't miss Gina Hall. Not only for her unique tattoos wrapped around her upper right arm, but the fact that in every USGP contest, she was a factor at the front of each race (Hall won the Tacoma, Washington event, came second and third twice and fifth once). Such was also the case at the recent US 'Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon too, where Hall finished second to winner Katie Compton.
Although her named sponsor on the sign-in sheets seemed to vary from cyclocrossworld.com to Missing Link (a grassroots team based out of Northern California), her bike sponsor has remained the same: Bianchi. Hall rides Bianchi's Cross Concept, which features a Scandium 7000 front end, a variable-shaped (oval to square) top tube and a carbon rear triangle. We asked Hall about her 52cm version of the bike (which is built with a 72.5 degree head tube and 74 degree seat tube), and about her choice of components and set-up.
She started by saying that the frame and fork is right off-the-shelf, with no modifications. "I'm sponsored by Easton, so I put their stuff [bars, seatpost, stem] on it as well," Hall adds. For the drivetrain, Gina's recycled the nine-speed Shimano Dura-Ace group off her last 'cross bike instead of upgrading to 10-speed. "Nine-speed [Dura-Ace] is tried and true, I know it works. I didn't want to complicate things by trying something that's new to me," she says.
Hall runs USGP sponsor Crank Brother's Eggbeater Triple Ti pedals. "I've been riding them two years and they're definitely my favorite pedal." She switched from Time, she adds, and "never has problems getting in the Eggbeaters," liking the Crank Brothers pedal system so much she runs their Candy model on her Bianchi hardtail mountain bike for the NORBA season.
She, like many top U.S. 'crossers, runs Empella's Frog Legs brakes. "I picked those because they work really well and they're lightweight," explains Hall. "I just try to pick things that are as light as possible."
Speaking of light weight, the heart of Hall's bike, the frame and fork weighs under three pounds. "It's very light. The carbon rear triangle helps with the harshness of cyclocross, and the Scandium is less harsh than most aluminum [bikes]. The sloping top tube makes it a nice stiff, accelerating bike."
"Overall," Hall says of her Bianchi Cross Concept, "it's a great bike. It handles super-well, and it's light, which is exactly what I need."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Steve Medcroft
Frame: 2005 Bianchi Cross Concept, scandium with carbon rear,
52 cm model
Cranks: Shimano Dura-Ace 9 speed, 38/44T
Rim: Cane Creek Volos
Stem: Easton EA70
Pedals: Crank Brothers Egg Beaters Triple Ti
Weight: 17.5 lbs